SO much to tell after two weeks! I'll try not to be ridiculously verbose...
We sailed out of San Diego. This is a great port to cruise in and out of. The airport and the cruise terminal are so close together, and many hotels between the two have free shuttles. We stayed at both the Hampton Inn (Downtown) and the Holiday Inn on the Bay. Both were great, with the only exception being the noise from the train crossing in our room at the Hampton Inn.
Embarkation was smooth as can be and very quick, as was debarkation. No issues there at all.
We had booked a veranda guarantee, and were given an AA cabin - 7085. The cabin was really nice :) Loved our veranda, location was perfect. The cabin is under the lido aft pool, but we only ever heard noise on the veranda - the occasional shifting of deck chairs. The room itself was silent! It is a connecting cabin, and that cabin was occupied, but we never heard anything from that room. We did hear the toilet flush in the More
other cabin near us if everything was really quiet, but not loud enough to notice or to keep a person awake.
The ship itself- what a relief! We had read so many bad reviews lately.... Very clean, the carpeting looked new, all the soft goods in our cabin were new, the public areas were sparkling clean and looked in perfect shape. No smells, no maintenance issues, nothing worn out or dirty.
The food - it was good. No complaints at all. I don't have a lot to compare it to, but I will say I thought the food selection and variety on RCI Freedom of the Seas was better - but not by much. We ate in the Lido and MDR and had room service - never ate in the Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto. Canaletto got rave reviews from those we spoke to who ate there.
Entertainment - so-so, but we knew that going in. The Zaandam singers and dancers were... uh... well - don't worry too much if you miss a show. The lounge acts were quite good, the individual acts in the main show lounge were pretty good - with Chipper Lowell and Mark Newell being FANTASTIC. The culinary demos were pretty cool :)
We played pub trivia almost every night with four others who were wonderful companions! Had a lot of fun with that :)
Ports - all were good, and detailed below. Tendering in Lahaina was a piece of cake and very efficient - just make sure to get your tender tickets from the main show lounge as early as you can in the morning.
Dress code fyi: After reading many posts on this board, I thought that the dress code would be more formal than it was on smart casual nights. Very few people wore ties or sport coats and most women were wearing capris or regular skirts and pants with nice tops. Formal nights - men were far more dressed up than most of the women, which I thought was odd! About 33% of men were in tuxes, 33% in dark suits, and 33% in sport coat/tie combos (along with those who chose not to go to dinner and were just in normal clothes). Women - only a handful of long gowns, mostly black pants/skirts with sparkly tops and some cocktail dresses. As for jeans, they were allowed in the MDR on smart casual nights. Shorts were turned away the two nights we saw someone try (smart casual).
We had a wonderful time, and could have stayed on forever :) I will say that we are very low-maintenance as far as being entertained, and were very happy reading books on our veranda. We would never take a kid or a teenager on this cruise! Also - if you need a, exciting night life or a busy casino, this is not the cruise for you :) Less
Great location. No noise issues inside the cabin - it was silent! Occasional noise from chairs being moved on the lido deck heard when we were on the veranda, but not bothersome. No maintenance issues, no smells.
The port itself is tiny, and doesn't seem to be set up for passengers very well, but that really didn't affect us. We took a shuttle to the airport and rented a car. We spent the day driving around Volcanoes National Park. It was great!!!
No where near enough time to really experience Maui. However, we had a great time. We were in Maui at the peak of Humpback season, and in the best place for viewing. Took a two hour trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Perfect!!! Saw a ton of whales, great guides and boat, and very good price.